Why Students Choose Online

Claudette Williams
Connections Learning

This graph compares the several primary reasons that students cite for switching to online education by frequency and by grade level of respondents.

Library Topic
Library Topic: K-12 Online Education

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Commentary or Blog Post

Jay Mathews of The Washington Post discusses the unfortunate case of a Michigan middle school that replaced teachers with online instruction to disastrous results and puts this episode in the context of a persistent trend to economize education.

John E. Chubb (CEO of Leeds Global Partners and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution) identifies the public policy roadblocks to further expansion of online learning and suggests how these might be addressed by states, schools, parents, and the free market.

This article explains how virtual schools provide a wonderful school choice alternative to those who are nervous about homeschooling, cannot afford a private school, and are unsatisfied with their local public school options....

According to Maldonado, a new law in Alabama makes taking at least one online class a requirement for high school graduation. Alabama chose to incorporate this policy due to the broader academic courses that online...

"Even as they surge in popularity, online schools in Minnesota are troubled by high dropout rates, poor math scores and inadequate state oversight.

That's the conclusion of a state audit released on Monday that shows how the virtual schools, whose full-time enrollment has tripled in recent years, are faring."

This article gives a glimpse into the lives of students and parents served by the burgeoning online education industry. Andrade presents statistics concerning online learning and suggests several reasons why online education can actually offer more...

"The Tangipahoa Parish school system is exploring ways to expand virtual learning opportunities in grades 6-12, but some board members are concerned about the program's ability to meet the needs of at-risk students."

This article covers the industry side of online learning by presenting an overview of virtual curriculum providers. According to those involved, the private, free-market nature of these e-learning companies...

"Two years after Minnesota overhauled charter school oversight, a new report is raising important questions about whether the state Department of Education has the staffing and the vision to ensure that another education innovation -- online schooling -- is serving the best interests of students and the state.

The report, released last week by the respected Office of the Legislative...

A variety of information on K-12 online enrollment, growth, funding, and legislation presented in a quick, bullet-point format.

The Florida Virtual School continues to grow, ending the 2011-2012 year with 148,000 students. Offering more options and comparable rigor, the Florida Virtual School draws students away from traditional schools in a trend that is reflected nationally.

"The parents of students attending full-time cyber schools, by necessity, must play a much greater role in their children’s daily educational experiences compared with parents of students in traditional public schools. And that raises an important question: Does full-time online learning, by its nature, exclude students whose parents cannot be that involved?

E-learning experts answer by...

The Star Tribune takes a glimpse into the future by imagining what education will look like in twenty or thirty years. According to this article, unless the U.S. gets on board and starts being more innovative in using online education and...

"Pattie Dole saw firsthand the destructive effects bullying can have on a child. When her son Anthony started kindergarten a year early, his small size and less-developed social skills set him apart from his classmates. He was also academically advanced, which widened the gap. None of the kids in Anthony’s class befriended him. Shunned by his peers, he was a sad and lonely little boy who...

Author and CEO Tom Vander Ark advocates bringing technology into education and provides links to a variety of studies that reenforce his point.

This article chronicles how the push in state governments, Florida in particular, toward online education has resulted in the emergence of for-profit institutions that have wasted state funding and yielded results far below state averages.

In an interview with Eric Hanushek, Terry Moe discusses the ideas in his book, Liberating Learning. According to Moe, online education has a great potential to cut costs and bring to fruition the school reform that so many have been advocating for through...

In this blog post, Bill Tucker (formerly at Education Sector but now the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) illuminates four problems that policy makers will experience in school inspections as digital learning develops: 1. "Replacing a Physical Visit," 2. "Implementation," 3. "Integrity," and 4. "Cost."

This article reports on the opportunities that online education provides for rural communities. According to Clowes, a variety of states with more rural populations are utilizing online learning as a way to give students...

In this blog post, management consultant Larry Penley offers a rejoinder to charges against online education by problematizing the deployment of the title "expert," justifying the role of for-profit companies, and assuaging concern over the employment of profits toward marketing. This post is part of the blog "Getting Smart," which advocates "innovations in learning."

"Blended learning can save some money; online learning can save a lot. That's the conclusion of a working paper -- The Cost of Online Learning--from Fordham's Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series. A talented team from Parthenon lead by Tammy Battaglino wrote the report. They estimate 'that full-time virtual schools cost, on average, $6,400 per pupil, compared with $8,900 for...

Michael B. Horn (co-founder and Executive Director of the Innosight Institute) speculates that the rapid growth of online education options may have created an unsustainable "bubble" of economic growth.

The superintendent of Idaho schools battles the president of the Idaho Education Association over funding for laptops. The NEA official claims that this is a step toward using online courses to replace teachers.

"While online instruction was merely an interesting 'experiment' just 20 years ago, it is now a critical touch point for students as they prepare for higher education and the working world. According to Sloan Consortium estimates, 30 percent of today's college students are enrolled in at least one online class and that figure will likely reach 100 percent in a few years. Already, many...

The viability of online education - especially in remote areas - is evidenced in the fact that the military is planning to launch an online high school for military children in the Fall of 2010. The new school intends to make its...

“Mississippi legislators are considering a proposal to strengthen the state’s charter school law. This is great news for a state with the weakest charter school policy among the 41 states (and D.C.) that have them. However, because the state Senate Education Committee has moved to ban virtual charter schools, the scope of this new policy is significantly limited…

Unfortunately, while...

With more students, online programs have come under increased scrutiny. This article provides an overview of political battles across the country and their roots in budget cuts, questions over effectiveness, and incidents of academic dishonesty.

"For kids with time constraints — like vigorous athletic schedules or illnesses that require them to be in and out of the hospital — the flexibility of online schooling can be a grade-saver. Some schools also allow students to combine online classes with on-site education at another school to get the credits they need."

In the midst of a budget crisis, schools need to determine how to deliver the same quality of education in a more frugal manner. According to this article, online advanced placement courses for high school...

Major universities continue their experimentation with the field of online high school education. Among these, the modest success of Stanford University's Stanford Online High School has heralded growing acceptance of the concept by colleges and universities and could help promote similar programs at other institutions of higher education.

"Online learning is one of the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology, according to a 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Education.

But the rapid growth raises the question do students get as much out of online learning as they do from face-to-face lessons with a teacher?"

"I had the horrific opportunity to experience online learning for a few weeks when, after my Advanced Placement biology teacher took a leave of absence, my principal decided that online learning would be the best alternative to hiring a new teacher right away. Just as fast as I was shoved into a computer lab, I realized the biggest issue with online education: cheating."

The growing South Dakota Virtual School offers students grades 6-12 in the sparsely-populated state the opportunity to take more specialized courses which physical distance and lack of trained teachers might otherwise prevent them from taking.

With 30,000 students already enrolled in online schools and legislation in the state pushing blended learning, Ohio is moving toward online education with great enthusiasm and mixed results.

This article describes the dealings of the online, for-profit company K12 Inc. Although subsidiaries receive the same funding as normal schools, they use most of this funding for business development and marketing while the majority of their students fall short of national standards.

The St. Paul school district is looking into a digital platform to access a variety of online tools as the district moves toward online learning. The article details what the district is looking for as well as the state of the market.

This article documents the findings of a ten-month investigation of state-funded online education programs. The investigation found evidence of significant waste of state funding, extreme dropout rates, and general underachievement of students in online programs as compared to their peers in traditional classroom settings.

"During the last 30 years, the per-student cost of K-12 education has more than doubled in real dollars, with no academic improvement to show for it. Meanwhile, everything the Internet touches gets better: listening to music on iTunes, shopping for shoes at Zappos, exchanging photos on Flickr.

Even with school hours offline, kids are logging plenty of computer time. A January study by...

This article outlines the development of the "Flipped Classroom" structure. The "Flipped Classroom" was started by two high school chemistry teachers wanting to aid absent students and is now attaining growing acceptance. This article also discusses benefits and potential flaws in the system.

"As the cyber revolution comes to American education, it will bring about a massive and cost-saving substitution of technology for labor. That means far fewer teachers (and union members) per student."

"Scant research exists on the effectiveness of full-time online learning, but 30 states allow K-12 students to learn entirely online from teachers like Good, who has about 125 students, some 50 of whom are full-time. Across the country, more than two million K-12 students participate in some form of online education, and nearly 300,000 do so full time, according to John Watson, founder of the...

John E. Chubb (CEO of Leeds Global Partners and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution) characterizes the challenge confronting states as they must adjudicate between independent online course providers and local school boards.

In this article, Christina Wood seeks to describe some of the background behind the K-12 online education movement. Wood provides personal anecdotes from students who have fallen in love with the flexibility and individual attention that online learning offers...

"Children who enroll in a K12 Inc. cyberschool are more likely to fall behind in reading and math, move between schools or leave school altogether, according to a new study from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado."

"All high school students should take at least one course online while in high school, according to Digital Learning Now!, the state policy project co-chaired by former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise. This recommendation, and all 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning, resulted from the vigorous discourse of 100 experts.

The recommendation is based on the fact that nearly all...

Chart or Graph

"Figure 3 shows all states with a state virtual school or a state-led online learning initiative. As of fall 2011, 40 states have one or the other of these, accounting for 536,272 course enrollments, a 19% annual increase."

"Figure 4 shows the enrollment and growth rates of all state virtual schools for which data are available."

"For example, a comparison of AP exam data from three online programs, Apex Learning, Florida Virtual School, and Virtual High School, against the national average of all students taking AP exams, shows the online programs exceeding national averages for exam results."

"The myriad online program attributes can be combined into a few major categories of online schools."

"Exhibit 2 provides estimates of per-pupil spending for online and place-based secondary instruction from six different studies."

"As Figure 2 indicates, an average estimate for labor costs in the virtual model is $2,600 per student, with potential variation of about 15 percent in either direction."

"As Table 3.1 shows, drop-out rates increased as grade level increased for both traditional and online students. On the whole, twelfth-grade students drop out more frequently than ninth-grade students."

"Table 6, showing the growth of online schools in Wisconsin from 2002 to 2008, shows a pattern that is fairly common—although certainly not universal."

Based on growth trends and statistics, Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn (of Harvard Business School and the Innosight Institute respectively) predict that online schooling will comprise 50% of all high school enrollment by 2019.

"Figure 1 outlines the variation in online-learning models."

"Chart 44 depicts the total per student FEFP for FLVS and for public schools in general. FLVS per student funding in all cases was less than that of public schools."

"Funding mechanisms for online schools and courses. This figure does not include performance-based funding, which is relatively new and applies mostly to individual courses."

"As table 4.1 shows, virtual schools run under different auspices—e.g., by the state, by a local school district, or by an entity holding a public charter—now have access to different sources of taxpayer funds."

"Table 3 shows the number of enrollments and growth rates of a sample of states, state virtual schools, district programs, national education management companies, and other types of programs."

Virtual charter schools rapidly expanded between 2000 and 2011 in both number and enrollment.

Based on 2009 numbers, this graph shows that the US spends the second most per student of the planet's major industrial powers. The growth of online learning may change this.

"University of Arkansas researchers compared literacy performance from Arkansas Virtual Academy (ARVA) students and their traditional public school peers for the 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 school years."

"University of Arkansas researchers compared math performance from Arkansas Virtual Academy (ARVA) students and their traditional public school peers for the 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 school years."

Data on Minnesota's online course enrollment for 2010-2012.

"Minnesota has online charter schools, multi-district programs, single district programs, and intermediate districts and consortia of schools, although no state virtual school."

This table tracks the growing enrollment of full-time online students in each state and then compares this information to the overall student enrollment in the state.

"In the 2005-06 school year, the grades earned in high school courses taken by students via FLVS (ed. Florida Virtual School) were again consistently higher than those for students taking courses in the traditional public high school setting."

This map gives an overview of the types of virtual education strategies in place in various states.

This chart reflects the online education views of a variety of school districts across the United States.

This chart compares the 27 states that offer online high school according to enrollment figures in online programs and according to the population of high school students.

"In SY 2012-13, fully online schools are operating in 31 states plus Washington D.C. (up from 30 states and D.C. in SY 2011-12). In SY 2011-12 these schools served an estimated total of 275,000 students. Figure 5 shows these states and student populations."

"[F]ifty-three percent (53%) of students said that compared to a traditional high school class their FLVS course was superior in quality."

"Online schools vary in many of their key elements."

"By cross tabulating years of total teaching by years of teaching online, 12% of the teachers new to teaching online have never taught in a face-to-face classroom."

This graph compares the several primary reasons that students cite for switching to online education by frequency and by grade level of respondents.

Analysis Report White Paper

This report examines the costs involved with starting and maintaining a virtual school. The researchers looked at a variety of online programs and their subsequent funding plans and reached the conclusion that virtual education costs just as much as a traditional classroom education does.

This book-length report contains a wide variety of recent information on online learning. The authors clearly define the various types of virtual education, provide statistics about the growth of online schools, and also present an assortment of insight from "researchers and practitioners" in the online education arena.

"While K-12 online learning continues to grow rapidly, the shape and pace of growth is uneven. Constrained education budgets, new policy developments, and changing technologies are accelerating growth in some areas while slowing growth in other segments, but the growth trend persists."

This report provides extensive information on online learning. An important feature of this report is a state-by-state analysis of online learning programs.

Many states have created or allowed some online and blended learning opportunities, but no state has yet created or allowed a full range of online learning options for students—with one exception. Florida in 2012 has passed laws that, in theory at least, make a full range of supplemental and full-time online options available to all K-12 students.

This piece offers a comprehensive overview of online learning components. Wicks explains how online learning works, what it costs, how teachers operate, and how children manage in an online setting. Wicks' online education primer also addresses commonly held misconceptions of online education and seeks to refute them.

This report reviews and summarizes available studies and literature, those of the US Department of Education in particular, regarding the results of online teaching.

This white paper introduces a refined definition and description of models based on feedback from over 80 organizations and 100 educators who commented on the initial research.

This brief links changes in the economy and world to changes in the demands placed upon education and contends that these have required a shift from "teacher-centric culture to one that supports learner-centered instruction."

This policy brief documents the successes of several schools and school districts that have incorporated various digital technology into their practices. Based upon these results, the brief concludes with specific recommendations for policy initiatives.

This report provides national estimates about distance education courses in public school districts. The estimates presented in this report are based on a district survey about distance education courses offered by the district or by any of the schools in the district during the 2009-10 school year.

As one of the largest online schools in the country, the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is often held up as a pattern for other virtual schools to copy. This report seeks to discover whether or not FLVS is giving Floridians a good return on their tax dollars. The results show that students from FLVS perform better academically for a lower cost than Florida public school students do.

"For school year 2010-11, Florida Virtual School (FLVS) contracted with Optimal Performance, Inc. (OPI) to gather feedback and data from students regarding their FLVS experiences.

This report addresses the role of policy makers in the advancement of online education throughout different states. Watson and Gemin present the advantages of online learning and its potential to solve many of the school reform issues that have arisen through the years.

The exponential increase in online learning in both regular and virtual classrooms is driving the need to incorporate new pedagogical content knowledge and strategies in preservice and inservice teacher education. Compared to many countries, the United States is behind in preparing K-12 teachers to teach online.

This Guide to Teaching Online Courses is the product of collaboration among a number of organizations committed to ensuring the quality of online instruction to secondary students in the United States. It is intended as a guide for policymakers and others engaged in selecting, hiring, training, and supporting teachers to provide quality online instruction to students.

This report surveys a broad spectrum of Americans on a number of proposals to reform education. The results show that Americans are far from sold on blended and online learning with respondents, by a slim margin, opposing such reforms more often than supporting them.

This article uses collected data regarding online education's growth and use to speculate regarding this "disruptive influence['s]" trajectory over the next decade.

As the title suggests, this article seeks to give an overview of the benefits of online learning and its potential to greatly impact future education policies. Dan Lips presents the background behind online learning and also provides a number of statistics about its rapid increase in recent years.

This report shows the results of study sponsored by K12 Inc. and conducted by Interactive Education Systems Design (IESD), Inc. regarding the social development of students in online schools. The study finds that the absence of such social interaction forced by traditional classrooms can be and has been replaced by other activities in most cases.

This report contains a variety of charts which graph respondents’ views on financial, academic, and acceptability aspects of online courses. A large number of anonymous quotations are also helpful glimpses into why (or why not) online education is a workable situation for school districts.

This report card grades the state of Minnesota on it's legislative progress on digital learning. Report cards for digital learning in other states can be found here.

This paper examines the huge savings potential that online schools offer to financially-challenged school districts.

This report questions measuring schools by the quality of their textbooks and teachers on paper as well as the total time students spend in classrooms. As online programs become more prevalent, the authors advocate measuring schools based upon outcomes as measured by standardized tests beyond the once-per-year norm.

Over just the past decade, online learning at the K-12 level has grown from a novelty to a movement. Often using the authority and mechanism of state charters, and in league with home schoolers and other allies, private companies and some state entities are now providing full-time online schooling to a rapidly increasing number of students in the U.S.

When it comes to government’s essential role in funding education, the holiest of grails is significantly improving quality while simultaneously constraining costs. Suffice it to say, no level of government, in or out of Minnesota, can point to many successes in melding and achieving these two imperatives in elementary and secondary schools.

Prominent e-learning experts such as Julie Young and Susan Patrick field a variety of questions from educators about the student and teacher logistics of online education. Overall, this panel seeks to allay fears and encourage the continued growth of K-12 online learning.

Technological innovation has thus far had little impact on K–12 education. Public schools, their classrooms, and their methods of instruction work much the same today as they have for decades. Experts have predicted for some time that technology would transform schooling.

Digital learning poses an immense dilemma when it comes to ensuring quality. One of the great advantages of online learning is that it makes 'unbundling' school provision possible—that is, it allows children to be served by providers from almost anywhere, in new and more customized ways.

"The literature related to online learning programs for K-12 students dates to the mid-1990s and builds upon a century of research and practice from K-12 distance education. While K-12 online learning programs have evolved and grown over the past decade, the amount of published research on virtual schooling practice and policy is limited.

"Perhaps a key reason we're so dissatisfied with the state of public K-12 education is that we’ve been asking the wrong question. If we asked instead, 'Why aren’t students learning?' perhaps we might see things that others have yet to perceive. After all, it’s the children’s performance that should concern us."

America’s system for financing K–12 education is not neutral about innovation and the use of new technologies. Indeed, that system is stacked against them. To remedy this, our education-funding system needs to shift dramatically.

How can online schools provide the necessary pieces for students’ social development and also demonstrate creative ways to enhance socialization by breaking down barriers of time and place? This paper explores the issues around socialization in online schools, and how online programs are addressing these issues.

In the digital future, teacher effectiveness may matter even more than it does today, as these complex instructional tasks are left to the adults responsible for each student’s learning. Teachers who nurture motivated, tenacious problem solvers while using new technologies to reach more children can become the fuel of local, state, and national economies.

"It’s impossible to put a single price tag on 'online learning' because, like cars, colleges, and cottages, it comes in widely varying levels of quality and efficiency. Instead, this paper attempts to estimate average costs—and a range of costs—for online learning as currently practiced in the U.S. It’s widely believed that online teaching and learning will save money compared with traditional...

In this report, the Alliance for Excellent Education outlines the challenges education faces from budget cuts, shortages of quality teachers, and declining test scores and then offers suggestions as to how educational technology (including online learning) might address these challenges.

Online learning is sweeping across America. In the year 2000, roughly 45,000 K–12 students took an online course. In 2009, more than 3 million K–12 students did. What was originally a distance-learning phenomenon no longer is. Most of the growth is occurring in blended-learning environments, in which students learn online in an adult-supervised environment at least part of the time.

Much has been written about K12 Inc. (referred to in this report simply as 'K12') by financial analysts and investigative journalists because it is a large, publicly traded company and is the dominant player in the operation and expansion of full-time virtual schools. This report provides a new perspective on the nation’s largest virtual school provider.


"Arnold Kling, economist and teacher, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about recent technological innovations in education and Kling's forecast for their impact on learning and how they might affect traditional education. Examples include the recent explosion of online lessons and classes, new teaching styles that exploit those offerings, and the nature of learning in various kinds of...

Moe and Chubb discuss the potential that online learning has for totally changing many of the issues in American education. Some of these issues include education funding, school choice, student...

"Blended learning is a disruptive innovation in education that can take many forms.

Here, we look at what blended learning is, why it’s spreading, and how it works in real and virtual classrooms."

This image provides an explanation of the "Flipped Classroom" teaching method accompanied by flow charts and statistics that compare it to traditional methods.

"The Internet has already disrupted many major industries.

It’s poised to transform education, too. Why now?"

Focusing on Michigan's role in online learning, this video shows teachers at Michigan Connections Academy at work with their online students. Teachers believe that the online arena allows them to actually connect and work with their students better than in a face-to-face classroom. The video also discusses a recent study on virtual learning produced by the Mackinac...

"This excellent video reveals how Carpe Diem Collegiate School in Yuma, Arizona boosts student achievement through blending traditional instruction with technology and extended learning opportunities." By blending traditional learning with technology, the program Carpe Diem offers engages students and helps teachers to provide a more personalized approach.

In the literature on the subject, online education is often referred to as a "disruptive innovation," a term first coined by Clayton Christensen. He explains the concept in this video. Although not directly addressed toward online education, this explanation will help toward understanding the literature of online learning.

Connections Academy is one of the leading providers of K-12 online education. This video describes their course of action and includes information on how online teachers work with students. This video also describes the flexibility that online education brings to students.

As an online public school, Florida Virtual School is one of the most well-known and prominent examples of online education. This video interviews FLVS students on what type of courses they have taken, how their participation in FLVS has influenced their lives, and whether or not they would recommend it to others.

"As governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, Jeb Bush championed school choice. His first year in office he created a program that offered vouchers to students in failing schools. The program successfully boosted student achievement until it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2006. Two other Bush-supported programs -- one that offers tax credits to business that help send low-income kids to...

Produced by a leading provider of online curriculum, this video takes a glimpse into the homes of students and teachers who participate in online public schools. The feedback from these people is overwhelmingly positive, for teachers, students, and parents all feel like they are giving or getting an individualized, high-quality education, with more than adequate...

"With the backing of Gates and Google, Khan Academy and its free online educational videos are moving into the classroom and across the world. Their goal: to revolutionize how we teach and learn. Sanjay Gupta reports."

This video outlines the program of the KIPP Empower Academy and their version of blended learning. Due to state budget cuts, this charter school adopted the blended learning model to supplement teachers. This use of digital learning allows students better access to lessons and teachers better access to the students' progress.

Testifying before an Oregon legislative committee, Kristina Ribali represents a concerned parent with a child enrolled in online education. Ribali advocates for choice and encourages the legislature to avoid putting regulations on Oregon's online schools, a position contrary to that taken by local teachers' unions. A corresponding article to this video can be found...

At Lake Superior State College in Duluth, Governor Tim Pawlenty discusses his plans for expanding the availability and promotion of online learning in Minnesota. Most of the remarks concern higher education, but he addresses K-12 learning requirements in particular between the 5:45 and 7 minute marks.

On January 30, 2012, the Minnesota Senate Committee on Education discussed the 2012 bill S.F. 1528, "The Digital Learning Bill," which has since been signed into law. The discussion included testimony from Mitch Pearlstein of the Center of the American Experiment (transcript...

This online school recruited students formerly attending Florence High School in Colorado. In this video, officials of the Florence School District and GOAL Academy, as well as students caught between them, discuss the concept of online education and how it impacts state funding.

Two high school girls found the flexibility to travel to and compete in figure skating competitions by attending Minnesota Connections Academy online. This frees up their schedules to their sport without losing social interaction or the opportunity to learn.

"For all the innovations in education reform, the American school system has not changed much in over a century. The system hasn’t equipped American students to keep pace with a changing society and global economy. Many children graduate from high school unprepared to enter college or the workplace, academic achievement has languished, and graduation rates have been stagnant for decades. Are...

This video follows an online charter high school called Carpe Diem. According to students and parents, one of the main benefits of Carpe Diem is that it allows students to work at their own pace. After being recognized with an exemplary award for quality education, Carpe Diem's founder attributed the school's success to an emphasis on "individualism."

Susan Patrick, "the president and chief executive officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning," explains how far behind other industries education is in terms of technological advances. According to Patrick, this lack of technological advancement is a direct result of the impediments that public policy places in front of K-12 online...

A teacher from the Florida Virtual School demonstrates teaching a lesson online.

The state of Florida has long been a leader in online education. Due to budgetary problems, the Florida legislature is looking at ways to save money and one of their options is online education. This news clip explains how virtual learning could soon be replacing traditional classroom instruction, a fact which many people - including parents - openly embrace.

Due to budgetary and school achievement issues, virtual schooling has become a learning mode designed to produce education reform. This video features a discussion of the potential of virtual learning both for children and for their teachers in the form of extended education and development.

The Connections Academy highlights a life in the day of a family with three online students, showing what online learning actually looks like.

CNN documents a student's online studies and gives a very concise synopsis of the conflict between for-profit virtual providers and teachers in traditional schools.

Produced by Florida Virtual School, this video uses actual online students, parents, and teachers to describe the intricacies of online learning. One of the main things that students and parents love about FLVS is that it allows them to connect with their instructors much more than in a traditional school. This feature enables kids to get extra help with areas they...

Primary Document

This piece of legislation describes the statutes pertaining to the Florida Virtual School. Among the topics covered in this document are guidelines covering who may attend FLVS, how FLVS receives its funding,...

"Education is the key to America’s economic growth and prosperity and to our ability to compete in the global economy. It is the path to good jobs and higher earning power for Americans. It is necessary for our democracy to work. It fosters the cross-border, crosscultural collaboration required to solve the most challenging problems of our time.

Under the Obama administration, education...

"As president, Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts the interests of parents and students ahead of special interests and provides a chance for every child."

This bill makes provisions for statewide blended learning programs in addition to mandating the implementation of online learning standards.

In this document, former Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise set out their aims for a major public policy push toward "unleashing" digital learning. They set out "10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning" along with their advice and intentions with regard to implementation.

"This meta-analysis and review of empirical online learning research are part of a broader study of practices in online learning being conducted by SRI International for the Policy and Program Studies Service of the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of the study as a whole is to provide policy-makers, administrators and educators with research-based guidance about how to implement online...

This report from the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor finds that full-time online students do not perform to state standards. The report provides an overview of online programs, statistical analysis of the shortcomings of online programs, and policy recommendations to correct the problems.

Florida leads all states in online education availability and enrollment. This act of the Florida legislature allowed for the provision of digital classes and mandated one online course in order to graduate from high school.

This report discusses the shortcomings of traditional methods of program evalutation with respect to online schooling. It also includes policy recommendations and highlights areas that may become problematic.

"The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. National Standards for Quality Online Courses is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality...

"National Standards for Quality Online Programs is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online program leadership, instruction, content, support services, and evaluation. The initiative began with a thorough literature review of existing online program standards, including accreditation standards, a cross-...

"The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. National Standards for Quality Online Teaching is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines...

Signed into law by the Governor on May 3, 2012, this Minnesota law outlines the state's official policy towards online education. The law specifically establishes definitions, funding, accreditation guidelines, staff qualification recommendations, and program parameters for online learning.

Minnesota Statute 124D.095 of 2006 titled "Online Learning Option Act" is current Minnesota state law covering the enrollment in and provision of online learning courses and programs.

Visiting Northern Michigan University in Marquette, President Obama commented upon American innovation and the economy with particular emphasis on high-speed internet access in areas as remote as Marquette. Comparing the quest for universal high-speed internet access to the construction of the transcontinental railroad, Obama discussed the possibilities technology opens up for K-12 and college...

This is the official complaint and petition for Writ of Mandamus (court order) with regard to the Highland Park School District of Michigan's blended learning program. The plaintiffs allege that the blended learning program has failed students in the critical area of reading. The petition includes relevant examples of the students' poor writing.

Mitch Pearlstein testifies to the Minnesota Senate Education Committee on Digital Learning regarding Minnesota State Law Chapter 273, S.F. No. 1528: "The Digital Learning Bill." He advocates online education as a cost effective and customizable alternative to the traditional format.

Adam Frankel, former speech writer for President Obama and current head of Digital Promise, a 501(c)(3) created by Congress, discusses the shortcomings of the current education system, the barriers to digital expansion, and how to move forward with digital learning.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discusses the opportunities that accompany blended learning both praising new technology and cautioning against using it in place of teachers.

"I am here to talk today about what has been called the New Normal. For the next several years, preschool, K-12, and postsecondary educators are likely to face the challenge of doing more with less.

My message is that this challenge can, and should be, embraced as an opportunity to make dramatic improvements. I believe enormous opportunities for improving the productivity of our...

"Because online learning is serving increasing numbers of secondary students, it is essential to understand whether, when and how particular implementations of online learning are equally or more productive than other forms of instruction. The purpose of this report is to support educational administrators and policymakers in becoming informed consumers of information about online learning and...




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At Intellectual Takeout, we think it's about time freedom went viral. Before our generation is the opportunity to embrace freedom, to unleash each individual's potential, and to have a prosperous future. And yet it seems that almost everyone running our cities, states, and federal government is intent on destroying freedom and burying us in debt to pay for it. If you, like us, believe that...
Education history in America is important to know. ITO traces how education has changed from the colonial period to present day America.
While many documentaries on the education system focus on various examples of failure, "Flunked" takes a bit different tack. While certainly acknowledging and exposing the failures of the system, "Flunked" also seeks out individuals and approaches that ARE working in education. The hope is that these points of hope may serve as examples for others working in education.  Here's the trailer:...
In the genre of documentaries revealing the problems with public education, "Kids Aren't Cars" focuses on helping us understand how schools are modeled after a factory system and what we need to do to change them. Understandably, treating kids as if they are a product to be manufactured has had detrimental effects on children going through the system and the overall level of education in America...
"Many parents and taxpayers feel helpless because the problems can seem so monumental. 'Kids Aren't Cars' director Kyle Olson reviews what he learned in the filmmaking process and the small things individuals can do that will add up to make a big difference." Here's Kyle being interviewed on a few things you can do and share with friends, family, and educators: Part 1Part 2
Okay, so your friends and family keep telling you to jump on the social media bandwagon, but you have no idea what the fuzz is about. Here’s the deal: The Internet gives liberty-loving folk like us an opportunity we have never had before: to make the case for individual liberty, limited government and free market economics instantly and globally. But with the vast amounts of information...


Curiously, not a few individuals are realizing that their education (K-12 and even college) neglected to provide them with as much understanding of the world as they would like. At Intellectual Takeout, we believe that however you feel about your education, there is still much to be learned. To that end, we'd like to refer you to one book and a collection of "study guides" that serve as...
Are you concerned your child isn't getting the education necessary to compete in the global economy or even, perhaps, to carry on the lessons and learning of Western Civilization? If so, you have a number of choices. You could, of course, consider changing schools to a charter school, private school, or even homeschooling. If that's overwhelming for you right now, you can always supplement your...
Sure, the idea of homeschooling is likely overwhelming. Indeed, homeschooling is a big commitment and a lot of work. That said, there's a reason why more and more parents are turning to homeschooling as the best option for their child(ren)'s education(s). Perhaps you are starting to realize that the public school system has changed a lot since you last attended it. Maybe you can't afford private...
Let's face it, most of us love to watch TV and movies. A wonderful way to spread ideas is to embrace our love of the cinema by hosting a movie night with friends and family.  There are numerous documentaries that do a fantastic job of sharing the ideas of liberty. You can pull a small group of friends together at your house or even consider asking a local restaurant or tavern to let you...
While there are a variety of really good documentaries about the failing public school systems in America, "The Cartel" stands alone in its frontal assault on the teacher unions, particularly those in New Jersey. If you'd like to get an inside look into how some teacher unions operate and the effects they have on education, you'll want to watch "The Cartel."From the movie's website: "This movie...
Another movie that tells the story of the failing public school model in the United States is “The Lottery”. It takes its own unique look at the systems by focusing on the use of lotteries to choose which children will be plucked from failing public schools and put into more successful public charter schools. Here’s the trailer:  You can watch the whole movie right now with the help of Hulu...
Watch "Waiting for Superman" to learn about the problems with the public education system.
Looking for an internship? If so, Intellectual Takeout has an opportunity for you. We have plenty of work to do as well as ideas to spread, and we need your help to get it done. If you're interested in an internship with Intellectual Takeout, you likely share our passion and you're excited about the possibility of working for a great cause. That said, you might have a few questions about what "...
How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals? Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular....
Sadly (or happily for some), life goes on after college. So does the fight for freedom. Building friendships, networking, and growing the movement is critical after college. If our ideas are to be preserved and promoted, you need to stay involved. Plus, in a time when the individual seems to be ever more isolated and adrift, these groups can help plug you into social networks you can use....
Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
A great way to make a difference on your campus by spreading the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and free markets is to tutor. Plus, you can occasionally make a little bit of money. Depending on the subject matter, you will be discussing a variety of ideas, key thinkers, and theories. As anyone who has tutored knows, there are almost always opportunities to expand upon a topic....
In a highly regulated society such as ours, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. Learn more about how to protect yourself with the 5th Amendment and how to interact with the police.
The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.

On Campus

Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options. So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill. A good, education in a free...
Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening. Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America. Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you. If you are inclined to pursue student government, we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good place to go for ideas and training is CampusReform.org. Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...
We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...